The ProCo RAT2 provides your tone with raw, powerful distortion at the stomp of a foot switch. Considered one of the best distortion pedals, this tone gets talked about in gear forums all the time because it is, quite simply, one of a kind. (Side note: most forums concur that the mid-80’s versions are the best models; however, this review is based on a later model.) Plug one in, turn it on, and you probably won’t want to bother with any other distortions on the market.
- Distortion – This setting is where the ProCo RAT2 makes its living.
- Filter – This knob is more or less an EQ setting, but it works a little differently than most other “tone” knobs. Cranking it clockwise filters out the high end, which lets the lower frequencies come through, while turning the knob counter-clockwise filters out the bass, essentially boosting the high end. Once you get the hang of how this knob works, though, it really lets you dial in your tone with excellent precision.
- Volume – For a pedal that calls itself distortion and not overdrive, it does a bang-up job of providing a clean boost, and this knob will help you set that boost however you like.
Glow-in-the-dark Control Graphics – The makers tout this feature as something useful on a dark stage, but the graphics only absorb light to put out for a short time (remember those glow-in-the-dark stars your friends stuck to the ceiling of their bedrooms? Same idea here). On-stage, the letters may as well be a slightly off-color paint splotch.
True Bypass – This pedal will color your tone all day when it’s on, but leaves it alone when it’s off. This feature is an absolute must for this type of effect, seeing as most players will switch this pedal on and off many times during a gig.
Power – Able to use either 9V battery or AC input.
Versatility – Don’t let the “distortion” label fool you. This pedal can actually produce a reasonably clean boost if you need it. That being said, the distortion is definitely the best reason to use this pedal. High gain fuzz, low end crunch, and bluesy rock-and-roll are all possible with this little gem.
Size – While it’s not the standard shape of most smaller foot pedals, the RAT2 is still able to fit in the same spaces those other pedals occupy and may even be able to fit in the oddly-shaped extra space you have at the end of your board.
Durability – This thing is built like a tank. Solid metal construction and quality circuits for innards mean the RAT2 is in the game as long as you want it to be.
Price – Put simply, it’s dirt cheap for the quality you get here, and practically a steal when bought used.
Battery Housing – If you’re using a battery to power this pedal, get ready for some frustrations. Not only is it a pain to get inside the pedal to the battery housing, but the housing itself is very cramped, making it too easy to shift parts around that probably shouldn’t be shifted. Use external power, or brace yourself for some tedium and annoyances.
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